Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wafa Sultan on Islam and The Landmark Forum

Dr. Wafa Sultan, the controversial critic of radical Islam that Time Magazine called one of the most influential women of 2006, took the Landmark Forum and mentioned it in a 2006 article in The Kurdistan Times, in which she credits the Landmark Forum for helping her remove past fears. The article describes some of her personal experiences, and is reprinted in an English translation at length below.

Where are the women of Egypt?!

Is there no woman in Egypt who has a shoe? I swear with the dearest that I have that if Sheikh Tantawi had spoken to my daughter like that, even if it cost me my life, I would have thrown my shoe at him, and even if it did not cut off his head, it would have blown his turban away between heaven and earth! Sheikh Tantawi, the Grand Mufti of Egypt, entered a classroom, pretending to be the Voltaire of Muslims at the expense of a child who is barely twelve years old, and shouted at her, ordering her to take off her veil: You look like that and you are veiled; what would you have done if you were beautiful?! Then, and indulging in blowing his empty drums at the expense of her mental and psychological wellbeing, he continued: “I am more knowledgeable than your parents!”

Does this insane man realize the scope of the psychological damage he has caused the girl?!

Suffice it what he has done to her burqa, and he came to plant the bullet of his treachery in a dead body, indulging in his distortion! A child will not accept to remove her head scarf unless she is forced to, or if she is convinced that her body is a disgrace and she must hide it, and both cases are sufficient to destroy her emotional and mental energies!

Tantawi did not want to leave the girl’s energies intact; he wanted his harsh words that are devoid of any feelings to wipe out the effects, descending the girl to the level of an ugly creature that does not deserve to be looked at by anyone! His insult to her in front of her female colleagues and teacher will leave in her deep subconscious a wound that will be difficult to heal with time, unless scientifically qualified people interfere to treat that wound! Even when specialists can treat it, a scar must be left behind that will cause her pain in her life from time to time….

I have never been a lover or amateur of belly dancing, because in short, I see in shaking the belly and the rear a banal and cheap art that is not worthy of watching. But I am fond of watching dances like Dabke, especially by the Syrians and the Lebanese, and I dream that I will be able one day to join a Dabke ring when I am invited to a wedding or an Arab celebration here in America.

I think that my desire to enjoy this art stems from the collective spirit of joy, which prevails over everyone when hands join and the rhythm of the feet intertwine in harmony. It is a collective spirit that is rare to see among Arabs outside the Dabke area! But the problem that stands between me and Dabke is that I have a phobia – a severe fear – of the dance floor, and I avoid passing near the stage.

The roots of the problem go back to the day that I had to leave my table for any reason at any celebration. I was a five-year old child at most, and I was with my family celebrating a wedding of a relative. I think my grandmother wanted to leave the wedding for some reason and she tried to persuade me to leave with them. She came close to the dance floor and picked me from my arm and pulled me as she said: come… stop dancing, everyone is laughing at you! My grandmother killed at that moment my desire to enjoy this art forever…!

Last year I was visiting a friend, a Syrian doctor living in Arizona. He invited me to a party hosted by “The Middle East Club” in the state to celebrate the graduation of the children of Arab families from high school. During the celebration, people started dancing the Dabke and things heated up, and my friend and his wife tried to convince me to participate in vain.

During the break, we chatted and I told them the story of my grandmother and my fear of Dabke circles. He smiled and said: I will rescue you and save myself and all my family, and went on to say: Is there an Arab man carrying a trace of a scar from suffering of the past?! I did not understand what he meant by saving me, but when I returned to California several days later, a woman contacted me and presented herself as a representative of the Landmark Education Institute and explained that Dr. such-and-such has paid subscription fees to the Institute and wants me to join one of his lecture series, a three-day stretch from eight in the morning until ten at night, and then explained to me the nature of the lectures and their desired objective, so I accepted the gift and called my friend in gratefulness….

Read the rest at Landmark Education News Blog

H/T: J.R.

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